Colorado Rapids have Derby County, US youth int'l Conor Doyle in sights, but lottery makes it tricky

Conor Doyle

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – The Colorado Rapids have made no secret of their desire for an impact goalscorer, and the answer could be right under their noses.

For the past six weeks, 21-year-old US youth international and Derby County forward Conor Doyle has been training with the Colorado. Proximity often makes the heart grow fonder, and the Rapids may have their eyes set on bringing Doyle in on a more permanent basis.

With the MLS transfer window officially open this week, the Rapids are hoping to bring Doyle in on a six-month loan that would go through the end of the 2013 season. But there’s a lengthy, complicated catch: Doyle would have to go through a weighted lottery to enter the league, but the Rapids are excluded from participating after winning the rights to Charles Eloundou in March (read rules on MLS player lotteries).

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Stilll, the Rapids want Doyle, and Doyle wants to come to Colorado, which could lead to a trade should another team select Doyle in an MLS lottery. If every other MLS team bypasses the Doyle lottery, the Rapids can then pick the player up via waiver draft.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here the last month or so,” the Doyle told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday. “I think I’d really like to play here. The guys have been fantastic in accepting me, and Colorado’s a pretty cool state. There’s a lot of stuff to do here.”

Rams manager Nigel Clough recently told reporters in England that he’d like to get Doyle some playing time after making just three first team appearances last season, and there’s an obvious connection between Derby and the Rapids since the MLS club's president, Tim Hinchey, served as the Rams’ vice president of commercial for three years before joining Colorado in November 2010. Hinchey and Doyle briefly overlapped during the summer and fall of 2010, before the former returned to the United States.

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Now, the two are reunited for the time being, and it could be on a more permanent basis.

Rapids head coach Oscar Pareja has complained about the lack of scoring from his team’s strikers and poor overall finishing, and Doyle could be an option for a team in need of a scoring punch.

“It’s a player who would provide us depth,” Pareja said on Wednesday. “At the moment, we’re waiting.”

Chris Bianchi covers the Colorado Rapids for MLSsoccer.com.